Digital mindfulness in the hybrid world
Workplace health and safety is a familiar phrase to everyone, and it’s something office workers often take for granted. But what does it mean when our workspace is at home?
Organisations still have a duty of care to every employee to safe-guard their wellbeing – and that means more than physical wellbeing. With the advent of the pandemic, working from home became a fact of life. After 18 months, we are starting to see the long-term effects WFH.
A burgeoning field of research is looking at digital wellbeing and methods of mitigating ‘technohazards’ and ‘technoharms’ that are prevalent in a hybrid work environment. Elizabeth Marsh, Director of Digital Work Research, is carrying out great research and galvanising this important conversation from a sound foundation of quantitative data.
“The term ‘digital well-being’ is used to refer to the impact of digital technologies on what it means to live a life that is good for a human being.” (Burr, Taddeo, Floridi 2020)
As it is a relatively new field, there is plenty to cover! So here are some things for you and your team to look out for, and to try.
- Get good at the tech
We can all get by with our various software and platforms, but rarely do we delve deep into their real capabilities. Instead of winging it and dealing with inevitable frustrations, take time to participate in workshops or take a short course on the particular tech. Secondary to this is get your digital house in order. Organise your files, clear out the Download’s debris, and streamline apps where possible so you have clear comms channels.
- Identify and manage tech anxieties
If you’re feeling stressed at your computer/tablet/phone, it’s important to identify the source of this discomfort. When it comes to technology there is a plethora of triggers from navigating unfamiliar technology to unreliable connections, concerns over data privacy and personal interactions. If we stocktake the stress and isolate the issue we can be mindful and take steps to combat it.
- Rituals are your right
Not many people are missing the old commute after the wallet friendly and efficient journey from the bedroom to the living room. But the ritual of the journey – the coffee you got on the way, the podcast you listened to on the tube, the cheery good mornings – held symbolic value marking the shift from personal time to being on the clock. When living space becomes workspace, maintaining the personal/professional boundary is a challenge. We can feel obliged to be always on, extending work hours and attending to work tasks ad hoc in the evenings. Create a ritual to begin and end your workday – and stick to it!
- Don’t be a victim of distractions
We’re bombarded by notifications all the time, and it’s not just people vying for our attention. Social media apps actively work to get you back on the scroll, sending you notifications when a friend of a friend liked a silly video or reminding you of that great holiday you went on 5 years ago today. Think about what’s important and switch of notifications for everything else. Having protected time and space to focus is not only important for productivity, but it reduces stress and brain fog.